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Structural architecture of Neoproterozoic rifting depression groups in the Tarim Basin and their formation dynamics

  • Bizhu HeEmail author
  • Cunli Jiao
  • Taizhu Huang
  • Xingui Zhou
  • Zhihui Cai
  • Zicheng Cao
  • Zhongzheng Jiang
  • Junwen Cui
  • Zhuoyin Yu
  • Weiwei Chen
  • Ruohan Liu
  • Xiaorui Yun
  • Guangming Hao
Research Paper
  • 11 Downloads

Abstract

The Tarim Basin is the largest, oil-bearing, superimposed basin in the northwest of China. The evolution and tectonic properties of the initial Tarim Basin have been hotly disputed and remain enigmatic. The Neoproterozoic basin is covered by a vast desert and a huge-thickness of sedimentary strata, has experienced multiple tectonic movements, had a low signal to noise ratios (SNRs) of deep seismic reflection data, all of which have posed critical obstacles to research. We analysed four field outcrops, 18 wells distributed throughout the basin, 27 reprocessed seismic reflection profiles with higher SNRs across the basin and many ancillary local 2D and 3D profiles and aeromagnetic data. We found about 20 normal fault-controlled rifting depressions of the Cryogenian and Ediacaran scattered throughout the basin, which developed on the Precambrian metamorphic and crystalline basement. The structural framework is clearly different from that of the overlying Phanerozoic. The rifting depressions consist of mainly half grabens, symmetrical troughs and horst-grabens. From the northeast to southwest of the basin, they are divided into three rifting depression groups with the WNW, ENE, and NW-trends that are mainly controlled by normal faults. The maximum thicknesses of the strata are up to 4100 m. From the Cryogenian to Ediacaran, most of the main inherited faults to active and eventually ceased at the end of the Ediacaran or Early Cambrian, while subsidence centres appeared and migrated eastward along the faults. They revealed that the different parts of the Tarim continental block were in NNE-SSW-oriented and NNW-SSE-oriented extensional paleo-stress fields (relative to the present) during the Neoproterozoic, and were accompanied by clockwise shearing. According to the analysis of the activities of syn-sedimentary faults, filling sediments, magmatic events, and coordination with aeromagnetic anomalies, the tectonic properties of the fault depressions are different and are primarily continental rifts or intra-continental fault-controlled basins. The rifting phases mainly occurred from 0.8–0.61 Ga. The formation of the rifting depression was associated with the initial opening of the South Altun-West Kunlun Ocean and the South Tianshan Ocean, which were located at the northern and southern margins of the Tarim Block, respectively, in response to the break-up of the Supercontinent Rodinia and the initial opening of the Proto-Tethys Ocean.

Keywords

Rifting depression groups Normal faults Extensional and clockwise shearing Cryogenian and Ediacaran Continental rift and intra-continental fault-controlled basin Tarim Basin 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Academicians Xu Z Q, Zhao W J, and Yang J S for their supports, We thank Professor Qi L X, Wang Z M, Qi J F, Wang Z Q, Yang H J, Qiu H J, Yun L, He D F, He Z L, Yin C M, Li Z J, Bao S J, Sun Z M, and Zhang J X for their help during the study. We are also grateful to two anonymous journal reviewers for their insightful and constructive reviews. We would also like to thank Engineer Zhang M for accurately rendering some of the figures. This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41872121 & 41630207), the Basic Scientific Research Projects of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences (Grant Nos. JYYWF20180903 & JYYWF20182103), the Science Research project from the Northwest Subsidiary of SINOPEC (Grant No. KY2013-S-024) and the work project of Chinese Geological Survey (Grant Nos. 12120115002101, DD20160022, DD20160169 & 12120115026901).

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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bizhu He
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cunli Jiao
    • 2
  • Taizhu Huang
    • 3
  • Xingui Zhou
    • 4
  • Zhihui Cai
    • 1
  • Zicheng Cao
    • 3
  • Zhongzheng Jiang
    • 3
  • Junwen Cui
    • 1
  • Zhuoyin Yu
    • 1
  • Weiwei Chen
    • 1
  • Ruohan Liu
    • 1
  • Xiaorui Yun
    • 1
  • Guangming Hao
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of GeologyChinese Academy of Geological SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Exploration and Production Research Institute of SINOPECBeijingChina
  3. 3.Institute of Northwestern Petroleum Subsidiary of SINOPECUrumqiChina
  4. 4.Oil and Gas Investigation Centre of China Geological SurveyBeijingChina

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